Millennials are allegedly the generation that cares the most about the planet. And yet when it comes to sustainable shopping, they are not walking their talk. The State of Fashion Report showed that 66% of millennials were willing to buy products from sustainable and impactful brands, and yet only about 26% do.
This paradox is a head scratcher for many eco-friendly and circular brands. If millennials are THE consumers that are the most aware of the textile industry’s harmful practices, why aren’t they shopping for sustainable products? And how can we change that?
What are the factors that can influence sustainable shopping in millennials?
There are 5 factors that consumers, particularly millennials, consider when making a purchasing decision.
1. Proper marketing and labelling of brands’ sustainable components
An eco-friendly product that does not emphasize its sustainability component is just a regular product. If no one knows that your differentiating factor is ecological, then the purchase decision has nothing to do with sustainability. And if millennials are searching specifically for sustainable products, they won’t buy the ones that are not clearly advertised as so. They certainly won’t take the time to go read the brand’s corporate values and ethics. On a similar note, the marketing and labelling should be real and not merely a ploy to attract consumers. Here’s a glossary of relevant sustainable terms to avoid falling into green washing traps.
2. Brands’ social responsibility
Brand loyalty is important to millennials, but more important is the brand’s social responsibility. Forbes’s survey shows that 75% of millennials would buy from brands that give back. The good news is that social responsibility is inherent to brands that are truly sustainable and circular.
Circular brands practice circular economy principles, meaning they
- Create products out of waste materials
- Implement social fairness such as fair labour wages and working conditions.
So by definition, circular brands give back.
The ease of finding circular products is not so straightforward. We mentioned above the issues with labelling and proper marketing. A lot of times it’s not clear whether the product, or even the brand, is truly sustainable or circular. Even after we find eco-friendly products, we still need to do a lot of research about the brand, their labour laws, their values, etc. In the end it takes a lot of energy and effort to find the right brand with the right product, and this deters people from buying. Having convenient access to sustainable products is the change we need to see, and it is happening slowly but surely.
Price will almost always matter to consumers, but even more so for millennials. Let’s face it, millennials are unluckily the broke generation. Discounts and bargain deals will attract most consumers, but they are decisive factors for millennials. According to Forbes, 66% of millennials said they will switch or try new brands if they offer discounts. And now with the consequences of the covid pandemic, financial security is a priority for many, and people prefer to consume consciously and cost-effectively.
A huge factor that explains why millennials are not buying sustainable and circular products is that there are simply not a lot of available options. Compared to the number of non-eco friendly brands and products, this is true. But that does not mean that they don’t exist. In fact, there are a few circular brands out there, but you have to go look for them.
One of the reasons we created Ccrave was to tackle these factors, particularly to show that there are circular, eco-friendly alternatives to fashion, home, and lifestyle products. And that you can find all of them easily on one platform. The best part? You don’t have to worry about greenwashing marketing ploys, because we carefully curate every brand and product ourselves. We ensure that they follow the circular economy principles, and we follow a strict vetting process to validate the brands.